Monday, July 14, 2014

Song and Story Fest, 2014

No, we had not died and gone to heaven, but it felt like the next best thing!  July 6 to 12, we were part of Song and Story Fest. It is a very unique annual gathering coordinated by a gifted group of musicians and story-tellers related to our church family.

The Fest is always hosted by one of our church camps.  This year we met in northern Ohio, near Wooster.  The weather was hot, occasionally rainy, and the mosquitoes were thick and blood-thirsty.  Nevertheless, we began each morning -- anointed with insect repellent -- in this large tent to greet the new day with song.

We sang familiar songs,

Mike Stern
and heard stories

Debbie Eisenbise
about Noah's wife, the Gardener,

Jim Lehman
and some almost factual tales of church history.

Small group workshops gave us a chance to meet with the various artists and learn their arts, new songs, and more funny stories.  Then, came campfire.

More stories,

Jonathan Hunter and children
Of how childhood fears were transformed into friendship.

Debbie Eisenbise and children
The Bible story of Mary and Martha took on a new twist

as the young listeners were invited to help
"unbind Lazarus (here bound in toilet paper)
and let him go!"

As the darkness fell and the moon rose, we said "Good-bye" to the
campfire and returned to the tent for evening concerts.
Again, we sang

Bill Joliff
old gospel hymns, songs of social protest, and new wrinkles on old familiar tunes,
such as "They'll Know We Are Christians by our Stuff."

Mutual Kumquat
Creating music as unique as their name, this group of talented young men shared several old familiar hymns in the new settings they have composed, as well as their signature -- often silly -- rock inspired style.

LuAnne Harley and Brian Krushwitz
This talented pair blessed us with music from many countries and languages around the world.

Jeffrey Faus and Jenny Stover-Brown
From Wichita, Kansas, this musical duo offered a blend of old classic numbers, such as "Autumn Leaves"
as well as their own original ballads.

second from left Chris Fitz, to his left, Chris Fitze
We even tried some improvisational drama.

But, too soon it was time to leave this ante-room of Heaven and return home to real life.

Most of the musicians combined their talents to send us on our way
out from Song and Story Fest singing!